Kahuku's Peters is state Player of Year
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
|Tuli Peters, a senior outside hitter, led Kahuku to a 15-2 record and a state championship. At 5 feet 9, she wasn't physically imposing, but she showed great all-around skills on the court.
Eugene Tanner The Honolulu Advertiser
But this time, the guests of honor were members of the Red Raiders' girls volleyball team.
Led by senior outside hitter Tuli Peters and coach Mona Ah Hoy, Kahuku (15-2) broke a string of 19 straight state titles won by teams representing the Interscholastic League of Honolulu. And along the way, the Red Raiders helped lift spirits on a campus where the two-time defending state champion football team got knocked out of the O'ahu Interscholastic Association playoffs.
In recognition of their historic season, Peters was named The Advertiser's State Player of the Year and Ah Hoy was named Coach of the Year in a vote of coaches, officials and media from around the state.
Also making the All-State first team are La Pietra senior outside hitter Alicia Arnott, Punahou sophomore outside hitter Aneli Cubi-Otineru, Iolani senior setter Kanoe Kamana'o, Kamehameha junior outside hitter Mounia Nihipali and St. Joseph junior outside hitter Jazmin Pa'akaula.
Peters, at 5-feet-9, did not look like a physically dominant player upon first appearance. But once the ball was put into play, Peters could dominate a game with her athleticism. She contributed in almost every way hitting, blocking, passing, digging and serving.
Her improvement from last year, when she was a second-team All-State selection, was obvious.
"She worked hard and played better, and you could see her leadership skills out there," said Kamehameha coach Joey Miyashiro, whose previously unbeaten Warriors lost to Kahuku in the state semifinals. "She's real athletic she jumps high and hits hard from the right, left and middle. And she played all the way around. She started jump serving this year, and defensively it was like they had one more (defensive specialist) added to the back row. She was so quick, she could move from the sideline to the middle in a second and a half."
Peters had a match-high 11 kills in the Red Raiders' victory over Moanalua for their second straight OIA championship.
And in the state tournament, Peters had 11 kills in a 15-2, 15-6 quarterfinal victory over Maui, nine kills and two blocks in a 15-9, 12-15, 15-7 semifinal win over Kamehameha and eight kills, two blocks and two aces in Kahuku's 15-13, 15-11 title victory over St. Joseph.
Arnott did not play in the state tournament, but she helped La Pietra come within a match of its first-ever state berth.
She had some of the biggest individual performances of any player in the state: 34 kills in a victory over Punahou; 25 kills and 10 digs in a five-game win over Iolani; 27 kills and two aces in a victory over Hawai'i Baptist and 27 kills and 12 digs in a loss to Punahou.
Cubi-Otineru, a repeat first-team selection, had perhaps the state's best match of the season: 37 kills, hitting .441, and 20 digs in a three-game loss to Iolani.
Kamana'o, last season's Player of the Year, led Iolani to a second-place ILH finish and a fifth-place state finish despite the Raiders losing four starters to graduation from its 2001 state championship team.
Nihipali helped Kamehameha win its first 16 matches before falling to Kahuku in the state semifinals.
Pa'akaula was a key force in St. Joseph's winning its first Big Island Interscholastic Federation title in a girls sport. The Cardinals went 17-0 before losing to Kahuku in the state final.
Ah Hoy guided the Red Raiders to the OIA and state championships after they lost back-to-back regular-season matches.